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There is a restaurant in Naples called Limoncello and today we pay tribute to them – the food is always excellent, the pizza bianca they serve before the meal out of this world and they make the best grilled calamari around. They also make brilliant Limoncello and few people leave without having, at least, one.
There are many legends about the origin of limoncello – one has the liqueuer originating around 1900, in a boarding house of the island Azzurra, where Maria Antonia Farace culitivated her oranges and lemons with care.
After the war, her nephew opened a bar nearby and he served this liqueur made according to Farace’s recipe. In 1988, a relative, Massimo Canale began producing limoncello and registerd the trademark.
Another sees the important families on the coast of Sorrento (again around 1900) serving it to their guests in the morning according to their recipe and in Amalfi it is believed that the recipe is much older than that. It is, however quite probable that it was made by many of the local families in order to utilize the glut of lemons in the Naples area, particularly by the monks in the surrounding monasteries. Be that as it may, it’s delicious and this cake equally so.
Chocolate Almond Limoncello Cake
- 250 g unsalted butter
- 450 g peeled and roasted almonds chopped roughly
- 250 g Lindt chocolate 75% cocoa solids are my favorite, but you can use what you like, chopped roughly
- 6 large eggs separated
- 70 ml limoncello
- 250 g demerara sugar
- 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds the little seeds that have been taken out of the cardamom pod
- 1 lemon – zest only
- Pre-heat oven to 180 C and line and prepare a cake tin.
- This one will need baking parchment so make sure the tin is well lined with baking parchment!
- Melt the butter gently and place in a large mixing bowl over a pan with simmering water.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar, the cardamom seeds and the lemon zest until it is creamy.
- Add the liqueur and continue whisking until the texture is soft and creamy once again.
- Now mix the butter into the sugar and yolk mixture until it is incorporated well.
- In yet another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they from soft peaks and mix this into the egg yolk mixture really gently – and finally the nuts and the chocolate, bit by bit.
- Should you find this mixture too runny, please add some more chopped almonds.
- I have done this and it works well.
- Pour into the cake tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for about an hour (sometimes more, sometimes less depending on your oven until a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow it to cool slightly, sift the icing sugar over it until it is completely covered with the white icing sugar.
Other Italian dessert: